the viand . annotated menu “5 ingredients or less” . 4.14.07

 

strawberry balsamic salad amuse: wandering into spring all sorts of fruits come out to play. by macerating the strawberries in a slight dressing of balsamic vinegar, sugar and a dash of grand marnier, the subtle interplay of sour exaggerates the sweet and cleanses the palate.

 

hot/cold pea soup: have you ever noticed how flavours subtly change with temperature? this wonderfully simple creation by ferran adria can be made with as few as two ingredients (mint and peas) or dolled up to suit your mood. at the bottom of the bowl swims a near-frozen puddle, submerged in a near-boiling bath. as you wander from top to bottom, you will notice flavours subtly changing, highlights becoming low notes and vice-versa

 

avocado, red onion, & grapefruit salad: we're lucky to get avocadoes year round here and citrus in the winter and spring. onions are keepers so you can get them year round. i've only been to palm springs once, as a child, and this salad from a restaurant called carrots which i'm sure is long gone, is my only memory. the avocadoes come from sycamore canyon ranch. theirs are very consistent; they ripen evenly and don't have strings. they also sell citrus and juices at unbelievably cheap prices. all organic, of course, at the santa monica and hollywood markets. the red onions are baby spring ones, which are sweet and crunchy. you can eat the tops too! we bought the grapefruit from bobby of rancho padre fruit at the friday venice market. i think his fruit is the most flavorful and sweetest in town and he has something nearly year round. great grapes and peaches are coming! (vio)

 

fettuccine pasta, tossed with braised kale and topped with sheep feta. This dish is simplicity itself. Use any pasta you like, any green that strikes your fancy and top it with a tangy feta. Voila-always good and quick as well. I learned this combination from vio in her cooking class and it remains one of my favorites. Both the pasta and the feta are from the venice farmer's market. I love the feta from "mom's products" so much that I have a standing order with Violet for my weekly ration. I find it to have more flavor than other feta's around town.

 

pork roast cooked with prunes, port, and anchovies. this is a portuguese recipe from food & wine years ago. we choose it for the 5 ingredients or less because it shows how the marriage of a few distinct flavors can be so magical. the pork roast is from greg at rocky canyon meats.

 

delicata is one of many winter squashes which are very hard and look like pumpkins of different colors and shapes. these are called winter squashes because they are harvested in the fall and stored in the cellar to get us through the winter. the easiest way to cook them is to poke a couple of holes and then put them in the oven at 350 or so until they are give when you squeeze them, like a baked potato. then you slice them open and scoop out the seeds. they're great just with butter and salt, but we've added manouri, a mild greek sheep's milk cheese (Eliki greek products and Mom's arab products both sell manouri at the hollywood farmers market) and mint salsa. we bought the squashes from greg at rocky canyon meats. he's able to feed any extra vegetables to the pigs!

 

chioggia beet carpaccio. No that's not a typo, beet not beef carpaccio. Fully vegetarian version featuring unique chioggia (kee-OJ-yah) beets are candy striped on the inside when they are raw. These beets get roasted ahead of time (and much to my surprise, the candy stripes disappeared during roasting), sliced as thin as you want and drizzled with olive oil. Try it with red or yellow beets also. And when you buy fresh beets it's like a 2 for 1 special because you can cook the greens. Treat them like spinach or swiss chard. This heirloom variety of beets is named after a seaside town near Venice.

 

wasabi crusted chicken, served on a bed of greens. City Bakery inspired the creation of this dish; they serve a wonderful lunch buffet with all kinds of intriguing items. I am particularly taken with their creative crusts for fish and chicken. Here is the version I concocted- chicken rolled in panko (these are a japanese version of breadcrumb, quite large and flakier than the usual kind) mixed with crushed tamari-roasted wasabi almonds. I marinate the chicken in buttermilk first, which makes it really moist. The chicken you'll be eating is called "rosie" which you can encounter in any whole food kind of store. The meat is organic, natch, and sustainably raised (not so natch- this is not a priority for every producer). She is a free-range chicken from Petaluma Poultry. sounds pretty happy, our rosie. The tamari roasted wasabi almonds are from the co-op. I like going there because they have a really nice selection of items in bulk, which is not only cheaper but cuts down on packaging. The co-op is provided with organic bulk food by Sun Ridge farms in Pajaro, California. For the "bed" of greens i will probably offer you an organic bok choy from the santa monica farmer's market, done up with a bit of shallot and garlic and soysauce. This is another dish that is really just a basic concept and could be done in many kinds of variations.

 

mashed cauliflower with cheese potatoes with leeks. The was no cauliflower to be found at the markets this weekend. We are told by one farmer that they are still in the field but too small to be harvested; they will return next week. So instead another easy taxtime dish substitute. Cook the leeks separately and then mash together with the potatoes. Great at audit time too.

 

roasted asparagus: we just use oil and salt and roast in the oven. of course asparagus doesn't need much cooking at all, but if you let it go until it's slightly browned it turns into candy.

 

pecan pie was vio's grandma i-ya's very favorite so we hope she'll be enjoying it with us. this crust is a pate sucre, that vio prefers to standard american pie crust and uses in all of her pies & tarts. the recipe pate sucre (and pate brisee, for savory tarts & quiches). is at www.viand.net. they are very easy and quick to make.

 

eggsistential: in honour of easter, we have a high-concept dessert not to be attempted by the faint of heart (despite only having five ingredients). as you crack (literally) into your reconstructed soft-boiled egg, you will first discover a smooth white chocolate mousse - digging deeper will reveal the slightly oozing mango yoke. sans ornate presentation, this is a simple and pleasantly refreshing dessert that can be easily whipped up by anyone in less than 30 minutes.